About this artwork
As a god of the late dry season and early rainy season (May–June), Xipe Totec (“The Flayed One”) expresses regeneration. By the time of Spanish contact in 1519, the cult of this deity was widespread throughout Mesoamerica. This figure depicts a young male wearing the skin of a sacrificed victim, a primary symbolic aspect of rituals conducted during agricultural fertility ceremonies dedicated to this deity. The lines across the chest represent stitched seams where the skin was fastened. Like living seed within a dried husk, the deity impersonator embodies the relationship between death and the renewal of life.
- Aztec (Mexica)
- Ritual Impersonator of the Deity Xipe Totec
- Ceramic and pigment
- H. 58.4 cm (23 in.)
- Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel A. Marx